Top 3 Reasons Brands Are Hesitant To Use A Periscope Telephoto Lens


We are already approaching the end of the first month of the year and many brands are getting ready to release their first 2022 smartphones. From the reports we have seen so far, these brands are trying to improve different aspects of the smartphones. As for the cameras, many flagship brands retain the rear multi-camera system, which is no surprise. However, the emphasis seems to be on ultra-wide-angle lens while the use of the telephoto lens decreases. In fact, the periscope telephoto lens doesn’t attract as much attention as it used to. Why does periscope telephoto lens suddenly becoming unfavorable?

How Periscope Lenses Work

For the current camera lens, the imaging model is generally assumed to be a small aperture imaging model. Thus, the imaging position is located near the focal point of the lens. According to this principle, the closer the object, the shorter the focal length of the image. On the contrary, the further away the object, the longer the focal length of the image.

When the smartphone first appeared, because people’s requirements for mobile phone camera were not high, the lenses at the time were mainly short focal length lenses. So the phone camera can be completely flat with the phone body and no camera bump. These cameras can only take correct images when they are close to the object. However, in recent years, cellphone manufacturers consider the camera to be a major selling point of the phone. Smartphones capable of taking clear images from a distance are now considered top-notch by users. Ordinary short focal length lens cannot achieve this goal. This led to the popularization of the telephoto lens which can photograph distant objects.

However, this brings another problem: the telephoto lens needs a longer focal length, but the thickness of the mobile phone is limited. How to solve this problem?

Why was it not used by manufacturers this year?

As a technology that can greatly improve the camera experience, the periscope telephoto lens has been favored by many mobile phone manufacturers since it was used on the Huawei P30 Pro and OPPO Reno 10x zoom version in 2019. The likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Honor, Vivo and others have all used periscope telephoto lenses. In fact, this lens has slowly become a go-to lens for flagship smartphones. For example, major flagships like Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Xiaomi 11 Ultra, Vivo X70 Pro+ are all equipped with periscope telephoto lenses.

However, since this year, flagships from Realme, iQOO, Honor and OnePlus have hit the road. Of course, we have the Xiaomi 12 series hitting the road at the end of December 2021. All of these flagship smartphones feature the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen1 processor. However, as if they had negotiated among themselves, these flagships do not have a periscope telephoto lens. These smartphones mainly use a ordinary telephoto. The Xiaomi 12 Pro has even done away with the telephoto lens, replacing it completely with a portrait lens.

Since the periscope telephoto lens is so popular, why have manufacturers decided not to use it? Here are the top three (3) reasons major brands avoid the periscope telephoto lens

1. Complex structure and volume

First, from the hardware point of view, the periscope lens has a more complex structure than ordinary telephoto lenses. The complexity of the periscope lens discourages many brands from using it. This lens not only has a complex structure, it also consumes a lot of space. The lens volume is just too big for a smartphone. Regarding the periscope telephoto lens, Lu Weibing, general manager of Redmi, said…”tToday, when every device competes for the limited space…every little space is very valuable.”

After all, batteries, fast charging, cameras, etc. take up a lot of space and everyone needs the phone to be thin and light. Thus, it is very difficult if not impossible to have a thin and light smartphone with a periscope telephoto lens. Smartphones that use the periscope telephoto lens weigh more than 200g. They are not light and they are not thin either. This is contrary to the feeling of finesse and lightness sought by current manufacturers.

In terms of adjustment, since the periscope lens supports multiple optical zooms, some shakes that are usually not obvious will also be amplified on the telephoto lens, which also offers more suggestions for manufacturers’ anti-shake adjustment. mobile phones. In other words, higher requirements and complexity. Additionally, as light is refracted, the amount of light entering the lens is also reduced, and horizontal placement also affects sensor size. The limited thickness cannot accommodate the outsole sensor, so it will also affect the final brightness of the film. It also forces mobile phone manufacturers to optimize through algorithms.

2. Cost and need

Just as the periscope telephoto lens is complex, it is also expensive. According to a ZTE executive, Snapdragon 8 Gen1 models generally won’t use a periscope lens, mainly because the cost of the telephoto lens is very high. It even gets more expensive when the periscope camera supports optical image stabilization. The cost is even higher than many main cameras that claim to be an outsole.

Also, for most users, the wide and powerful zoom is not an often-used feature. A lot of people don’t buy their smartphone because of the camera’s zoom capability. Although from the manufacturer’s point of view, adding a periscope lens can make the mobile phone more in terms of taking photos. However, on the demand side, the addition of the periscope lens may not really appeal to regular smartphone users.

2. Controversies (privacy issues)

Finally, the high power zoom provided by the periscope lens is also subject to some controversy. In addition to being able to film distant landscapes, mobile phones equipped with periscope telephoto lenses are also easily used by certain criminals as “accomplices” to spy on the private lives of others. Some netizens have already reported that some people use these cell phones to secretly take compromising photos. Thus, it usually affects privacy and security protection.


Although there are more or less problems with periscope lenses, they still have a high demand in the market, especially for flagship models. According to speculations, the best flagship smartphones like the Xiaomi 12 Ultra and vivo X80 Pro+ which will arrive this year will use periscope telephoto lens. PThe eriscope telephoto lens will not completely disappear this year, because in the eyes of mobile phone manufacturers, the near-perfect experience brought by the best flagships is far more important than cost containment.


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